April 19, 2021
Should I do cardio or strength first when I work out? Assuming I do a warm-up first, which one is more beneficial to start with? I want to get maximum health benefits out of working out, without injury or burnout.
Careful About the Order
I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us prefer either cardio OR strength. But the most important thing is that you’re doing BOTH! Strength and cardio both do amazing and very different things for our bodies. Some people prefer to split them up on different days, and some people enjoy doing a little of both in the same workout! That part is totally up to you.
Really, the order can technically come down to preferenc,e too. Doing it either way is FINE and helps you get stronger and burn calories. But if you want to get sciency and/or your goal involves toning, building muscle, and/or burning fat, it’s usually better to do weight training first. Then cardio! There are a few reasons for this:
You’re going to be more focused in the first part of your workout. Weight training takes focus. If you’re already tired from your cardio workout, you might lose some mental energy for your strength routine.
Your body uses short bursts of energy first. Unless your cardio workout involves sprints, it makes more sense to use those initial short bursts of energy for lifting.
Cardio first could fatigue some muscles you need for strength training. If you wear yourself out with cardio first, you might not get as much out of your strength workout. Your form could also be more sloppy.
Weight training first could boost your calorie burn. One of the perks of strength training is the continued calorie burn as your muscles recover. If you hit the weights first, you keep burning those extra calories even as you start your cardio workout.
So if you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight or want optimal energy when you hit the weights, I’d suggest either doing cardio at the end of your workout or divvying up the days altogether!
HOWEVERRR. If you’re working on endurance, working on your running pace, etc., it could be better to put your initial focus on cardio. Like anything in fitness, it all depends on your goals!
Two things to wrap up. One, yes of course stick to some kind of warm-up first, no matter what kind of workout you’re doing. And two, the most important thing is that you’re getting both strength and cardio in. If you find that you feel better doing cardio first, or you’re just more motivated when you start with cardio, stick with that! The science can say one thing, but you know your body.
Which do you prefer – strength or cardio first?! Tell me in the comments!
PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!